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Ministry defends costly protection for heritage site

(Xinhua)

08:20, August 31, 2012

BEIJING, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- Culture heritage authorities on Thursday issued a statement to address public concerns regarding an ongoing protection project for a renowned world heritage site.

The 185-million-yuan (29 million U.S. dollars) project is intended to save the 600-year-old Yuzhengong Palace from being submerged in water, as an ongoing water diversion project has threatened the Taoist palace's safety, according to a statement from the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH).

The palace is believed to have once been the home of famed Taoist Zhang Sanfeng. It is located in central China's Wudang Mountains, which became a world heritage site in 1994.

However, the ongoing construction of a south-to-north water diversion project has threatened the palace, as rising water levels on a nearby reservoir will drown the palace by 2013 as a result of the construction.

A proposal to physically lift the palace 15 meters above its current height was approved by SACH in 2011 after multiple options were assessed, the statement said.

SACH responded to public doubts about the project's expense by stating that the funds used for the project will also cover the restoration and repair of cultural relics, as well as further excavation.

Archaeologists have analyzed the site and kept records of all historical information contained inside, the statement said.

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